Canada PM Harper to visit India next week

Seeking to boost bilateral ties with India, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit the country next week where he would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Indian leaders.

This will be Harper’s second official visit to India. During his November 3-9 visit, Harper will visit Agra, New Delhi, Chandigarh and Bangalore.

Harper will be accompanied by Ed Fast, minister of international trade and minister for the Asia-Pacific gateway, Joe Oliver, minister of natural resources, Gerry Ritz, minister of agriculture and agri-food, Bal Gosal, minister of state (sport), and Tim Uppal, minister of state (democratic reform), along with representatives of the business and cultural sectors.

Harper will meet Dr Singh, and other ministers and officials from the Indian government during his stay in India.

“Canada enjoys a strong working and personal relationship with India but we must further strengthen the links between our two countries,” Harper said in a statement.

“India is a growing economy with enormous potential, and expanding our trade and investment links with India will create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity here in Canada.”

He will also address the World Economic Forum on India, an independent international organisation committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders. Trade between India, one of the fastest growing economies, and Canada is increasing, the statement said.

The strength of the ties between the two countries is also reflected in the estimated 1 million Canadians of Indian origin and that more than 23,000 Indian students are currently studying in Canada, making India the second-largest source of foreign students to Canada.

Harper had last visited India in Nov 2009 when the two countries announced a slew of agreements to boost their bilateral relationship.

The two countries plan to triple their trade in the coming years from the current levels of a little over $5 billion. The pending nuclear deal and a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) will boost the trade as the two countries work out modalities on these agreements.
Over 30,000 Indian immigrants make Canada their home each year.